The Beaches of Agnès has its national broadcast premiere on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at 10 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.) The film is part of the POV (Point of View) documentary series. Now in its 23rd year, POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series and is the winner of a Special Emmy for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking and the International Documentary Association’s IDA Award for Best Continuing Series
The Film: In this delightful memoir, award-winning French filmmaker Agnès Varda (“Vagabond,” “Cléo From 5 to 7”) employs all the magic of cinema to juxtapose the real and the imagined, the past and the present, pain and joy. For this 81-year-old artist, memories live through her films. In The Beaches of Agnès, she uses film clips, old photos and gorgeous reenactments to revisit her Belgian youth, association with the French New Wave, marriage to director Jacques Demy (“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”) and the making of her movies. You don’t need to know anything about Varda to enjoy this glimpse into the treasure chest of her memories.
Appearing both as they were and as they are today are members of her family, son Mathieu Demy, an actor, and daughter Rosalie Varda-Demy, an actress and costume designer, and the ordinary people who crossed her path and entered her films, such as the local fishermen from her first film, “La Pointe Courte” (1955). Varda also brings into the frame her many friends and collaborators, including directors Chris Marker (who appears as an animated orange cat) and Jean-Luc Godard; French actors Gérard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli and Philippe Noiret (who starred in “La Pointe Courte”); British actress Jane Birkin; and American icons Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro and the late Jim Morrison.
The Beaches of Agnès received the César (France’s equivalent of the Oscar) for Best Documentary and a Directors Guild of America nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary.
Watch the trailer and learn more at www.pbs.org/pov/beachesofagnes.